Mykolenko's Merseyside Derby Hopes & 'Rolls Royce' Teammate

Ahead of Wednesday night's Merseyside derby at Goodison Park, Vitalii Mykolenko sat down to answer a range of questions, revealing the impact of Evertonians' support, a message from captain Seamus Coleman ahead of the 244th meeting between the local rivals, a "Rolls Royce" of a teammate, his hobbies away from football and an assessment of his season so far...

Vitalii, the Merseyside derby next up - a huge game, of course. There is a short turnaround between that one and what was an important win over Nottingham Forest at the weekend. How do you prepare for it?

VM: I like having games every three or four days. It is particularly good when you win, I feel like you can recover much better. When you lose, you feel bad emotions and for me as a player, it is harder to recover after a loss. You can recover physically, but mentally it is harder. Of course, we will be ready. 

Looking at that win over Forest, it was an incredible atmosphere at Goodison. How much did that help?

VM: It is always a huge pleasure to play at home. Our fans, every game, are amazing and I want to say thank you every time. You really feel it out there on the pitch, especially at Goodison. Even when we lose games, they are waiting for us after the game. I want to say a huge thank you to our fans because it has been a tough season - tough for the players and tough for the fans but we really appreciate their constant support. 

It's been a tough season, as you mentioned, but you've had a strong season on a personal level. Have you felt the love and appreciation from the fans?

VM: Absolutely. When I came two years ago to Everton, I felt love from our fans on the very first game. I am always trying to help my team, to fight for Everton. In football, the most important thing to me is to play with 100 per cent in every game and I feel like I am playing much better this season than last. I feel like I am becoming more consistent, which is very important.

Another player having an excellent season is Jarrad Branthwaite, a player you have obviously worked very closely with on that left-hand side of defence. How good has that been?

VM: We have a very good relationship and he is a Rolls-Royce! I am really happy to be playing next to Jarrad because he always covers me, he is fast and has a good header. He is a very good defender, for sure.

How big a game is the Merseyside derby for you?

VM: Of course, it's harder for me to talk about the history compared to the local guys because I am an international player, but I know exactly what this derby is. This means a lot for our fans, for our team, and people around the Club... only a couple of days ago, Seamus [Coleman] was making sure everyone knew what this meant to the fans. I'm sure it'll be an electric atmosphere and we will be ready.

You've spoken previously about your admiration for Sean Dyche's methods. How much are you enjoying working with him?

VM: Yes, very much. He likes fight, spirit and desire on the pitch. I am trying to do that every game, every session. In the Premier League, if you can do these things, you can win games, for sure.

And he's a fishing fan, just like you?!

VM: (Laughs) He likes fly fishing, and I like carp fishing. It is different for carp fishing - you need more time to prepare to get fish!

Do you think it is important to have a hobby outside of football?

VM: It is important because you can’t leave football, and it is difficult for me to not think about football every second. I am trying to change that slightly, but I don’t have enough time for fishing because you need two days. Now, I have got my PC and video games. My wife is not massively happy about it!

Finally, back to football, what are your aims for this final stretch of the season? 

VM: Simple - get wins, every game. We have got five games left, let's get out there and keep putting three points on the board and enjoy it out on the pitch.